It might have taken you some time to decide to learn German. Seldom do we decide on a whim to learn a new language as it is quite an undertaking and rarely a short-term project. People learning German tend to have a connection with the language or German-speaking Europe, be it through family ties or an interest in culture, music or history. Many have studied German at school; for others, it is work which requires them to engage with the language. Having decided to learn German, consider the settings in which you want to study.
German language levels
Whichever setting you choose, study a German course that suits your level. Otherwise, your German studies might be too taxing or not taxing enough. Both might cause you to lose motivation. Being new to the German language would put you in a beginner class. But should you have previously studied German, even only at school many moons ago, then take a language assessment to gauge your current German language skills. That can be done online; starting at the lowest level, you work your way up. These online assessments measure language according to the European Framework for Languages. Take the test result to your German school or tuition firm so that they can enrol you in the most appropriate German course.
German language classes
A German class is a great way to learn in the presence of others, which allows you to bounce off one another and learn from each other’s mistakes. Class settings can also have the motivating factor of competitiveness. After all, who doesn’t want to be the teacher’s pet? Now, do you want these German classes to be in-person or online? The latter would save you the time to travel to and from class. In-person learning, however, is more rewarding as your teacher gets to know you better and vice versa. In-person classes have the added advantage of improved retention with fewer distractions lurking behind your screen in the office or at home.
Lessons with a private German tutor
There is the option of learning German by engaging the services of a personal German tutor. Learning with a tutor would allow for more flexibility when scheduling lessons. It can be intense as there are no distractions from other class participants. Your concentration would be required all the time. Hence, progress might be faster than learning German in a class environment. Private lessons allow you to study at your own pace, your lessons focus on where you need to improve and not others, and the syllabus can be adapted to your learning level and goals. Again, you can learn German with a tutor in person or online.
Beyond German courses
I would advise you to supplement your course with German language podcasts, language learning apps like Duolingo, reading German books, watching German movies or series, or even joining a German conversation group. It all helps you cement what you have learned in your German class or your lessons with your German tutor and accelerates you towards your goal of speaking German.